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OBIT: Mercedes Toepfer

Mercedes Toepfer, 93, of Charles City, passed away Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at the 11th Street Chautauqua Guest Home in Charles City.

A private family graveside service will be held at Riverside Cemetery in Charles City.

First and foremost we knew how much Mercedes loved her family. Most recently there were conversations about how expressions of love don’t always need to be verbal. “Actions can be expressions of love as well”. Mercedes showed love to her family her entire 93 years of life.

Mercedes was born in Charles City to Milton and Dorothea (Draheim) Toepfer on September 16, 1927. She was the oldest of four children: Mercedes, Dorla Jean, Barbara, and Susan. Merc graduated from Charles City High School. She worked for the Oliver Corporation. She then decided to attend LaJames Cosmetology School, and after graduating she worked as a beautician for a short time. Merc went on to work at City Hall in the water department, and then to First Security Bank and Trust from which she retired after 20+ years.

Mercedes was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church and the Charles City Women’s Club. She also volunteered at the Floyd County Medical Center gift shop.

Her hobbies included cooking and baking. She loved trying new recipes and we enjoyed being her guinea pigs! She also enjoyed traveling. A few of her trips included Acapulco, Mexico, California, Disney World and Cypress Gardens, Hawaii (her favorite!) and all the sights seen on bus tours to Mackinac Island and Nova Scotia. Merc loved shopping for clothes and only the best would do. Park Fashions was her favorite store in Charles City. She was even featured in an advertising photo in the Charles City Press for Park Fashions! She enjoyed photography, working in her flower beds, simple crafts, ceramics, and her needlework was truly exceptional. She tried all kinds of needlework: embroidery, crocheting, knitting, cross stitch, hand quilting, needlepoint and crewel. But embroidery was her favorite. It was all perfectly done, front and back, and perfectly preserved. Mercedes’ next love was for animals, especially her Siamese cats, Sampson and Mickey.

It would be difficult to list all of our memories of Mercedes on paper. But of all the things she did and made for us the nieces and nephews agree our most cherished gift will forever be the photo albums she put together for all five of us. Pictures from our birth through high school graduation. (We kids always wondered why so many photos had to be taken at one sitting).

Merc was on top of things. She knew current affairs and even knew who Lady Gaga was. If you needed to know something from the past she was the one to ask. We know it was hard for Mercedes to ask for help with things in her later years. She always made her own decisions and was in charge of how she wanted things done for 93 years! Eventually, we knew she was grateful to have the support from her family. She will be missed dearly, but we could not wish her back in the condition she was in. Mercedes was in charge right until the very end. She did it her way.

Mercedes shared in her last weeks of life that in her next life she was going to learn how to swim, ride a bike, do more traveling, and be a millionaire! BUT not have a husband. She said, “I will not have a man telling me what to do!” The one common thread in all of this is that Mercedes was recognized and admired by her family for being a strong and independent woman.

Survivors include: her sister, Barbara Leary ofCharles City; three nieces: Deborah Leary of Charles City, Marcia (Joel) Jensen of Denver, IA and Linda (Craig) Harrington of Clarksville TN; nephew, Steve (Amy) Woodruff of Hiawatha, IA; niece-in-law, Linda Woodruff; eight great nieces and nephews; and many great-great nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; infant sister, Susan Kay; sister, Dorla Woodruff; brothers-in-law Harlan Woodruff and Thomas Leary; nephew, Scott Woodruff. Last but not least her beloved kittys: Sampson and Mickey.

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